Outdated IT, and the perils of using it

Using outdated IT equipment and cheap, consumer IT services can pose significant risks to your security and productivity. Every business needs to control costs, but here we look at why you shouldn't scrimp on your IT.

by Drew Aspland, 20th January 2023

Outdated IT, and the perils of using it

Cost-control is crucial for any organisation, and a successful business will make sure expenses are kept within budget and that resources are being used efficiently. However, we’re going to explore why it is also vital that businesses don’t scrimp on their IT services and solutions, and stay up-to-date in new technology and equipment. They may not provide an immediate return on investment, but long-term benefits include increased productivity, improved security, and a competitive advantage. We offer a supply, install and maintenance service for this very reason.

By balancing cost-control with this speculative acquisition, businesses can make informed decisions that will ultimately save them money, increase their overall efficiency, protect their intellectual property and improve staff retention. Nobody likes sitting at their desk, waiting for their knackered laptop to catch up with them.

There’s many reasons why you and your business may avoid or put-off improving your outdated IT. Cost is the most obvious one – upgrading IT equipment and services can be expensive and some businesses, especially small or new businesses, may not have the budget to do so. In this situation it can be incredibly tempting for a business to rely on free or consumer-level services. Dropbox, Google Docs, WhatsApp – there’s dozens of examples of free services a business may take advantage of. You use them at home so why shouldn’t you use them at work?

Free IT services ≠ good IT services

This is a dangerous way of thinking. Some businesses may not fully understand the benefits of spending a bit of cash on new IT equipment and paid-for enterprise IT services. They may not see the value in investing in new technology and may not be aware of the potential long-term costs of not upgrading. There may be a risk-averse hesitancy to invest in new technology. Who isn’t worried about the potential for failure or unexpected costs?

It’s natural to feel comfortable with the technology you currently use, and you may not see a need to change. Training yourself and your staff takes time. Ultimately, you may not have the in-house IT resources to handle the maintenance and support of new IT equipment and services.

Free, domestic or consumer IT solutions may indeed work for one-man-bands or start-ups – for a while. But here’s why you shouldn’t settle:

  • Security: Free, outdated IT services may not have the same level of security features and protections as paid services, putting sensitive data at risk of being stolen, compromised, or lost.
  • Limited scalability: Consumer services may have usage or data volume limits that can hinder the growth of a business.
  • Limited features and functionality: Free services may not have the same level of features and functionality as paid services, which may not meet an organisation’s business needs.
  • Limited support: Consumer IT services do not have the same level of support and maintenance as enterprise services, making it difficult to troubleshoot and resolve issues.
  • Limited customisation: They may not have the same level of customisation and configuration options as paid businesses services, making it hard to adapt them to your business model.
  • Limited data ownership: Free IT services may have data ownership and portability limitations, which can be a problem if you want to change or leave the service.

It’s important to make sure that you’re not wasting valuable work-hours using cheap IT services that aren’t fit for purpose. Is it ultimately more cost-effective to just pay up and buy the service you and your users actually need?


Outdated IT
Just because it still works, doesn’t mean you should still be using it…


Consumer data-storage accounts: when your data is not your own

All the big providers offer free, personal-use versions of their data storage products, with slimmed-down features when compared to their enterprise versions. Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive all do it.  But business managers should be wary of their staff storing company data in these personal data accounts. As an organisation, you have very little real control over the data stored in there.

Firstly, it can put the company’s sensitive and confidential information at risk of unauthorised access or breaches. Personal data storage accounts may not have the same level of security as company-provided storage solutions, making it easier for hackers or other malicious actors to access the data. Additionally, personal accounts may not have the same compliance and regulatory requirements, which could put the company at risk of non-compliance and legal issues.

Secondly, it can make it difficult for the company to manage and control the data. If staff are storing company data in their personal accounts, it can be difficult for the company to track where the data is located, who has access to it, and how it is being used. This can make it harder for the company to implement data governance policies and procedures, and can also make it harder to retrieve data if it is needed for business operations or legal requirements.

And lastly, it can lead to issues with data ownership and intellectual property rights. If staff are storing company data in personal accounts, it can be difficult for the company to assert ownership of the data and protect it from unauthorised use by others. This can lead to disputes over who owns the data and what rights the company has to use it. This can be costly and time-consuming to resolve.

Don’t kill your productivity with outdated IT services

Organisations should carefully evaluate the total cost of ownership of any IT solution, including both the upfront and long-term costs. Additionally, a business should be sure to consider the flexibility, reliability, and scalability of any IT solution, as these factors can have a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of the solution.

We’d likely suggest a business subscription to Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. For the cost of an hour’s wages, a month’s subscription to Microsoft 365 in particular includes tools like SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams which provide advanced collaboration and communication capabilities that go way beyond what is offered with free Google Docs. It allows for better control over data ownership and portability. And it also offers 24/7 technical support as standard.

Don’t put up with old equipment

At Plan IT Support, we always clearly communicate the benefits of upgrading outdated IT equipment – improved performance, increased productivity, better security, and long term cost savings. We’re conscious of giving our clients the best value for money, but this sometimes means spending a bit of dough in the short term. A proper cost/benefit analysis includes not just the initial cost of the new equipment but also the long-term costs of maintaining the older stuff, and the potential costs of not upgrading, such as downtime and lost productivity.

Older equipment may not meet industry standards and compliance. This can be particularly important for businesses in regulated industries. We have to consider which is cheaper – saving money on equipment, or avoiding that fine for a data breach? The perils of non-compliance can cost a hell of a lot more than a new router and firewall. Did your old equipment just cause you to breach the GDPR? That’s a €20M fine, please. Or 4% of your annual turnover. It could ruin your business.

It’s important for businesses to understand that while investing in IT services and equipment can be costly, the long-term benefits outweigh the costs. Investing in business IT services and equipment, and then keeping them up-to-date, can in fact save your business money in the long run. If you’re relying on knackered equipment and under-par services, what does that say about your business?


Talk to us about updating your IT solutions.

We’ll take you through the process from beginning to end – discussing your budget, your needs and projections – to make sure your IT hardware and services are suitable now and for the future. There’s no obligation, and our advice is guaranteed impartial.


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    We really weren’t aware just how much the company would come to depend on video meetings and remote working until the effects of 2020 hit. The work Plan IT did with us before and during the pandemic to get us into the cloud has been instrumental in keeping our business working smoothly, despite everything.

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